What is true freedom? That is a loaded question. I have been in church for many years. I received Christ in my late twenties. However, what I didn't completing understand was true freedom in Christ.
In scripture, freedom means to exempt, to liberate, to deliver, to set at liberty: from the dominion of sin.
Lets break down liberty: Liberty means freedom from external or foreign rule, freedom from control, freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint.
This definition caused me to think. I don't know about anyone else, but I was once bound by sin, abuse, rejection, low self-esteem, and other things. When I received Christ and began to walk in relationship with Him, I experienced liberty through His power and deliverance. I just didn't know it at the time. I still allowed the opinions of people to try to take me back to that dark place in my life.
After looking closely at the above definitions, I then read the above scripture in several different versions, but the Amplified stood out to me. In the context of the scripture, Jesus was speaking to Jews. He was trying to explain to them that if they received Him, abide in Him and His word then they would be free. However, they like many of us, reminded Jesus (as if He didn't already know) that they were descendants of Abraham and they had never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, "You will be made free," they continued.
You see, before we can be made free, we have to first recognize that we are bound. We can't be free and bound and the same time. They couldn't see nor understand the truth due to their self-righteousness. They had kept the law and offered sacrifices, so they believed that they were good.
Jesus interrupted and said, "Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever."
Wait? What? (I pictured them saying this)
Jesus was speaking of spiritual things. I believe that he was trying to get them to see that all of what they had learned and sacrificed were but a shadow of His coming to truly set them free. They couldn't see that because they were focused on the flesh, but Jesus was referring to a spiritual matter.
I believe that he was showing them that they were no better than any other human being. We are all on a level playing field. We are all sinners, and we remain in sin because we have no power to deliver ourselves, no animal sacrifice could solve a spiritual matter, only Christ.
So I ask the question again are you truly free. Have you received Christ and are walking in relationship with Him, trusting in God's word and not man's philosophy or opinions. Remember, Jesus said, "If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," - John 8:31-32 NKJV.
Here is another scripture:
"For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.” II Corinthians 10:18 NKJV
True freedom has nothing to do with fleshly or earthly things, but everything to do with the spirit and soul of man. We can't be free in the natural unless we are made free in the spirit first. We can't be bound and free at the same time. Christ is that freedom! His power sets us free from foreign rule (sin, evil). His power frees us from the control and captivity of satan, sin, and even people. Finally, we are no longer restrained, our spiritual eyes are opened, but free to worship our creator and walk out His purpose for our lives.
Allow the Son to make you free and if He makes you free, you shall be free indeed!
As I was reading Genesis nineteen, I thought about how much sin could consume all of us without the power of Christ Jesus in our lives.
In this chapter, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had become gravely wicked. Well, my first question was how did they get this way? God's word helps us understand. It states that when individuals did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (Romans 1:28 KJV). Does this sound familiar?
When I read the words above from Romans, I realize that could be any of us. You see, in Genesis 4:7, God warns Cain that sin crotches at the door, but he was supposed to rule over it. It also states in James 1:14, "Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death (NASB)." And finally, Romans 6:23 reminds us, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Therefore, it all starts with our hearts. Where is our heart? Are we rejecting God? What things are we desiring? Are we seeking after God or have we made something our god? Only Jesus has the power to set us free from the bondage of sin. If we reject Him, then we can't be made whole in Him.
Before walking in relationship and the power of Jesus Christ, I was a mess. I was bound by sin. I did not have the power to come out on my own. I had to surrender my heart to my creator, and He did the work in me.
I could still be consumed by sin if I hadn't taken that step of surrender. We have to participate in our salvation by a simple surrender. We have to seek after God in Christ. We have to keep His way and spend time in His presence, obeying, and walking in relationship with Him daily. Then and only then will our spiritual chains broken!
Sin has no power over Christ! All we have to do is surrender. He will do the rest!
Genesis 8:1 - "Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark."
Have you ever read Genesis 8:1 and wondered , can God somehow forget? Well, I recently asked God this very question. I have read Genesis over and over, but this time the word remember really stood out.
After reading this word, I looked up the meaning, and what I found blew me away.
Remember means to recognize, consider, keep in mind, and be aware of.
This meaning helped me to understand that God didn't somehow change because He is God and He can't change. It means that Noah never left His thoughts. He was always aware of his situation and He would bring Him out.
It meant that God is a promise keeper. He's merciful and full of grace. He's the only one that can truly keep us in mind and be aware of us at all times.
Here are a few more examples:
Genesis 19:29 - And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.
1 Samuel 1:19 - Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.
Exodus 2:24-25 - So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.
Notice the pattern. In each instance, there was a need (crisis) that was beyond the ability of the individual. Some of individuals involved weren't perfect, but God still brought them out. Therefore, the word remember shows the great character of God. He knows our ways. He knows that often times we disobey, we fall, and are not perfect, but yet He considers us (His people and even our family members).
What a mighty God we serve! He is so faithful, even when we are not.
He remembers us (considers, keeps in mind, and is aware of). Now that is true love!
From the time of my birth, I have endured some great struggles. I am truly a living testimony!
I'm often reminded of the following scripture, "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19)
When I first looked up the word "standard," I found, "vanish away, flee, put to flight, hide." To me, that means that God will always protect me and back up the enemy by His great power. He will keep me from destruction.
The scripture never said that the enemy wouldn't come up against me. However, it does promise that God is greater. He is a provider and a protector.
Here are a few examples:
As an infant, I had to be airlifted to Miami Children's Hospital. I was rushed into emergency surgery, where I almost died. But God.........
As I got a little older, I experienced much abuse. But God....................
As an adult, my husband and I lost our first child, and we were told that we couldn't have any children due to my struggle with Endometriosis. But God..........
I was depressed, in my sin, and lost. But God.........
I could go on and on, but you get the point. No matter what the attack was, God was right there. He was and is far greater than our struggles. He redeemed me! He kept me in the midst of it all! He protected my life from death! He gave us a son in spite of the report from the doctor. He is twelve years old now. God can and will do the same for you!
I say to you today, nothing and no one is greater than Jesus!
I am a living witness! God's glory will be revealed in our lives. We live in a fallen world, but we are redeemed by a powerful, living God!
I know you're probably wondering what the beautiful tree has to do with this devotional.
Well, allow me to use an analogy!
The tree represents God's existence and glory. It shows the world that there is a living God that took the time to show His glory through this tree. They could try, but NO man can take credit for this.
I love the fall season because I'm always amazed by the changing of the colors. Only the designer of that tree can make such a bold statement to the world. God is the designer! He made it to glorify Him. The Bible states: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
Revelation 4:11 NKJV
The earth and all that is within it was created by God and to glorify Him. In the Greek, the word glorify means "honor, praise, or worship.”
Mankind is walking, living, breathing examples of the truth of God. While the tree moves and changes the way that God has designed it, we too must also glorify God. Our lives must bring honor and glory to our maker. Just like the beautiful tree in the fall, He placed purpose inside of us. That purpose is to draw others to Him.
When I first experienced fall in Georgia, I looked at the tree changing colors and begin to think about the designer, God. I thought about how beautiful He must be in order to design something so beautiful. I thought about my purpose and why He designed me. It caused me to begin to talk to Him more. I wanted to do His will and bring Him glory also.
In the same way, people are to wonder at our lives and begin to call upon Him for change in theirs. They should see us and want God more not less. Let us surrender to His purpose and glorify Him as the fall trees.
His word says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 NKJV
It's not about us, but it's all about Him. To draw others to the truth which is found only in Christ Jesus.
“To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?” Isaiah 46:5 NASB
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24 NASB
Ae you ready to be made empty so that you can be made complete? God is calling humanity back to Him. He is calling us to turn our hearts to Him so that He might make us whole and free in Him. You see we are wondering souls in a world of darkness, and God wants to shine His light upon us. Jesus Christ is the light of the world!
So many have falling away! So many have erected their own god in their hearts, yet it may not be the true God of the Bible. The Lord is near to us. He is calling the nation! He is calling the world! Return to the truth! He desires our worship. We have to turn away from the worship of mankind and even ourselves. We have to push past the thoughts of others and even wanting to be accepted.
In this time, we must seek the face of the living God. Jesus came that we might have life. The abundant life in Christ is supernatural. He wants to give us rest for our soul.
So just as the children of Israel were corrected and under God's judgement, God is the same today. He will give His glory to no man. He never changed, mankind did.
We are but dust and sin is apart of our nature. Christ came to change that. He came to set us free. We must go through our land and destroy our idols. Our idols may not look the same as those in scripture. We may have taken the throne of our own heart as lord of our lives. That is idolatry! We have to dethrone ourselves and cry out to the living God! Seek His face, and seek after Him to reveal the root of our separation or distance from Him. Then we must allow Him to uproot it and leave only Himself.
The Word of God says that we must worship God in spirit and in truth. We must denounce our own desires and our own will!
Cry out to God in prayer! Pray for others as well. Ask Him to reveal, remove, and redeem! Ask Him to draw you by His spirit. Begin to say to Him, "God leave only You! You are my strength, my hope, my deliverance, my peace, and my joy! Leave only You dear Father! Leave only You!"
Genesis 6:9 - Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
In a world that is dominated by social media, many focus attention on self-image. There are millions of photos uploaded to Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis, but have you ever stopped to wonder beyond the moment? Have you thought about the fact that we are currently living in times very much like Noah, a great man of God in scripture. You see, in Noah's time, the earth was full of wickedness. People did not seek God; they sought after their own desires. Sound familiar?
As I was reading in Genesis the other day, the above scripture stood out to me as if I had never seen the words before. Noah walked with God and he was perfect in his generations. I first started to think, "Wow, this was an awesome man of God; I don't know if I am able to do that." Noah walked upright in the midst of wickedness and sin all around him, yet he kept his eyes fixed on God and obeying His commandments. He was not perfect in the sense that he had never sinned.
After focusing on that scripture for a few minutes, I went to look up the word "walked" and perfect" in the Strong's Bible Dictionary. As a language arts teacher, I love to identify the dictionary meaning of specific words. It seems to shine a greater light on the context of what I am reading.
The Strong's Dictionary defines the word "walk" as to go toward and continue
. And the word "perfect" is defined as to have integrity, truth, be without blemish, and to do it sincerely
Again, we know that Noah was not perfect as the world defines perfect. He like us can only be made perfect in God alone. However, we are given a free will. Noah was a man that desired God above anything else. Notice that there was lots of wickedness in Noah's time just as we see today. However, Noah had to make the choice to walk with God and be set apart in order to be identified as a just man. There had to have been something different about him in comparison to those around him. He had to have stayed before God to get instructions for his life. We have the same choice today. God is still God today! He has not changed, we have. He is still speaking and moving on the hearts of men, women, boys, and girls. But it is our choice to choose true life in Him, the life that only He can give. God gave Noah many instructions and the Bible records that He did according to all
that God commanded Him. This could only be done by God's power and Noah's surrender!
Now dig deeper and apply God's word to your life. Below are my responses:H - How does this scripture help you to know God better/more?
This scripture helps me to understand that God is here to guide us but He doesn't force anything on us.O - What were some things that you observed?
1. As I read the whole chapter, I noticed that Noah was in the midst of lots of wickedness but He chose God.
2. God established a covenant with Noah.
3. My obedience matters more than I know.P - What was the overall purpose of this scripture?
God desires that we walk upright and He is able to keep us even in the midst of an evil generation, but the choice is ours.E - What is some encouragement for daily living?
God is all powerful! He will take care of evil. He will sustain the righteous. God has all of the answers that we need.
Now you try it! Be blessed,
Copyright © 2016 by Denise Walker/Hope-in-Christ. Ministries, Inc.
Bible Verses from New King James Version were found on Bible Gateway.
Scripture Focus: Gen. 1:1
- In the beginning God
(elohiym, ruler) created the heavens and the earth.John 1:1-2
- In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God
. He was in the beginning with God
- By the word
of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.Who is Jesus Christ?
Many individuals today ask this question. There are many religions in our world. There are also many skeptics and even those who don't believe in God at all. I have often thought of it this way, "If God exist and He does, then there must only be One truth and not many." God is not a religion. Religion is manmade. God is truth. God speaks to us; He reveals Himself to us. He doesn't keep us in the dark pertaining Himself. God's Word records His truth.
The first scriptures listed above begin by affirming that Christ is the WORD
(logos, something said, the Divine expression as uttered by the living voice). He has always existed from the beginning with God
(theos, Supreme Divinity) and He is God
. The same (The WORD) was in the beginning with (beside, unto, next to, toward) God.
In John 14:6, Jesus made the following statement: "I am the way
, the truth
, and the life
. No man cometh unto the Father but by me. This is a direct correlation with John 1:1. I believe that Jesus is affirming who He is so that there is no confusion.
The scriptures about Christ don't use the article (a). The scriptures use (the). Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, and the Word
. The article "the" leaves no room for questioning.
For example, if I asked my son to bring me the book off of the computer desk, then there would be something specific about that book. There would be nothing else to search for. The instructions to my son would have been clear enough to know that there was only one particular book that I expected him to bring. The words of John 14:6 and all the other scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The article "the" was used for a reason. God wanted us to understand that there is only One way, only One creator, Only one truth. Think about it: If there is truth, then how can there be many truths? How do we know the difference between a lie and the truth? Where do morals come from? Can morals come from many different sources or one?
Life is found is Jesus Christ. He is God! God and Christ are One!
The purpose of these scriptures is for us to know that there is a God, He was not created as others. He is not just one of many. He is Christ our Lord and He wants us (His creation) to know Him and to develop a relationship with Him.
Hope-in-ChristCopyright © 2016 by Denise Walker/Hope-in-Christ Ministries, Inc.
Bible Verses from New American Standard Version were found on Bible Gateway.
“Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” John 9:39 NLT
This scripture relates to one of the miracles that Jesus performed. The man that He is speaking to was blind from birth. Then he had an encounter with Jesus. He was able to see and knew that there was something different about the man who had performed this great miracle.
Jesus then explained to him that he had received physical sight, but He also was the one that could heal spiritual blindness.
My husband wears glasses and can't see very well without them. A few years ago, he was leaving for work. He was still a little sleepy, and he got into his car and prepared to leave. He then came back into the house and said, "I was wondering why everything looked so blurry when I got in the car. I realized that I had left my glasses." He and I laughed about this for a few minutes. He then grabbed his glasses and left.
Like the man in scripture, this relates to physical sight. However, in the same way that things looked blurry to my husband, spiritual blindness can cause us not to see clearly. In the scripture referenced above, Jesus is saying that He came to give sight to the spiritually blind.
Spiritual blindness may cause us to believe that we are not sinners. It may cause us to believe that there are many ways to get to God. It may even make us believe that God doesn't exist. Whatever the situation, Jesus is the only one that can cure us.
He came to set us free. All we have to do is surrender and allow Him to do the work. When He opens our spiritual eyes, we can see and understand the things of the spirit. We can understand and experience our creator. He is spirit. Jesus is the only way and the only truth! Allow Him to open your spiritual eyes so that you can see and experience His beauty, His peace, and His holiness!!